With her album Warrior, Mayura is taking us deep into her colourful and dreamlike world. Powered by warm jazzy tones, she mixes in a hint of soul and pop with a flair of reggae. With raw energy and wild vibrancy she uses the power of her music to unite and captivate. We sat down with Mayura to talk about her album, moving from musical theatre, working with Jinu and much more!
OSR: You have been surrounded by music from a young age, how do you think this has affected the music you make?
Mayura: My mum is a jazz singer and a pianist so music was always around and it has definitely influenced my style and the way I sing. Mum took me to all her shows and we always jammed on the piano and sang at the weekends! I make reggae music with a hint of jazz, soul and pop and the jazzy side comes from her for sure.
Growing up I also listened to Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and a lot of pop music. I started listening to a lot of reggae as a teenager mainly when I moved to New Zealand at the age of 13.
OSR: You worked in the musical theatre industry, what prompted you to start making your own music?
Mayura: I studied musical theatre in Auckland and during this time I started a girls pop group with two of my friends. We were called the Laa Laa Girls. We wrote our own songs, recorded them and made a music video. Things didn’t end up working out but from then on I knew I wanted to be a solo singer and make my own music. I also lived with a singer-songwriter for six years during that time, so I think being with someone like that really helped me even If I didn’t realise it at the time!
OSR: Warrior is your first album and has recently been released, can you tell us more about it?
Mayura: Warrior is the story of the past seven years of my life and the birth of Mayura. It’s the achievement of being able to find myself as an artist and finally bringing out music that comes from my roots. It’s an album that talks about love, the society we are living in and ecology. It was recorded in New Caledonia, most of it in my living room.
OSR: What was the biggest challenge you faced when creating the album?
Mayura: Probably the time it took! It was a long process trying to find the time to record and getting the right musicians. It took us two years to get it together. In New Caledonia everything is a lot slower, island-style (laughs). So sometimes it can be a little bit frustrating.
OSR: The first single off the album is ‘Mother Earth’. Why did you choose this track as the first release?
Mayura: I chose this track as I felt it represented me the best and it’s one of my favourite songs on the album. I also thought about the music video and I needed something simple and easy to make with no budget and I knew this song would work.
OSR: What was your creative process for creating the music video for ‘Mother Earth’?
Mayura: I wrote ‘Mother Earth’ while I was in Paris working as a waitress and things weren’t going so great. It was hard doing all the small jobs just to get by and not being able to fully live off my music and acting. I needed to portray that in the video so that is why there are two sides to the story. A girl that works a job she doesn’t like just to get by and a free wild woman who does what she loves. So many of us feel forced to do this or that for money, a house, children, to please others, whatever the reason is at the end of the day we do have the choice to make a change.
OSR: The single is uplifting and motivational, do you feel that you are an optimistic person?
Mayura: Yes, I think I am. I mean, I knew that choosing the path I did was gonna be challenging but I try and stay positive and keep up that good positive faith! I am really grateful for everything that has happened in my life even though none of it has turned out like I thought it would. As I get older, I put less pressure on myself and tend to trust the process of life and where it takes me naturally.
OSR: What would you like your music to bring to the world?
Mayura: Love mainly, freedom to the soul, good vibes and that moment of joy when you listen to one of my songs and you can let it go and just feel the music. Music and words are powerful and can really help in so many situations, good or bad.
OSR: You worked with Jinu to produce the album, how did you connect with each other?
Mayura: Jinu and I have known each other since babies. Our parents are friends and made music together as well. His father is a sound engineer and actually helped quite a lot with the production of the album. Jinu is like a brother to me, he’s family and I think that is why we have such a good connection and can create music as we have. He really pushed me with my vocals and helped me achieve the sound and style I was looking for.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the coming year?
Mayura: More video clips to a few songs from the album, live shows here in New Caledonia, hopefully, live shows elsewhere when our borders open and new music!